Mina and the Beast

Mina is a blond goddess

who I electrify by groveling

in her rat-skeleton crawlspace

drilling holes running wires up walls to ceiling

where I place a junction box like a turd dead center.

Mina is a songwriter nobody’s heard of yet

singing Forgiveness is the flower of peace.

She has wealth to own this place so young.

I am the hippie electrician. Mina asks

Couldn’t that hideous steel box go elsewhere?

I say No, impossible.

I’m lying. I could run more wires,

earn more money for more labor but oddly,

politely I refuse. Sometimes I’m batshit.

Unspoken my simmering blue collar anger

as I stand cobwebbed and dirt-smeared

before her blondness, her unearned riches.

She doesn’t force the issue.

Unspoken, perhaps, her fear of hairy men

or her distaste for confrontation.

Maybe she writes a song about it.

About bad work, bad men. About me.


So 40 years later I wonder. I google.

Hey — she blogs. She runs a bed-and-breakfast

on a Maine island playing cello, singing to guests.

On a bicycle at night she hit a moose who,

one leg broken, fled into the forest.

Mina, head cracked, hired trackers but

the moose was never found, never healed.

In memory all good jobs fade.

In memory a shoddy job haunts forever,

wretched as a 3-legged moose.

I’m sorry I messed up.

In Maine Mina, lovely Mina, please forgive.

Joe Cottonwood has repaired hundreds of houses to support his writing habit in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. Long ago he wrote an underground novel called Famous Potatoes. His latest book of poetry is Random Saints.